Guys, your side of the closet might be no bigger than your first-grade cubby hole, but no matter how much space youre working with, a clean and organized closet is a happy closet. That means no blaming the dog for a mysteriously missing shoe and no accidentally wearing a button-up shirt with a stubborn grease stain to an important client meeting.
Cleaning out your side (or sliver) of the closet is your responsibility. Lets face it: When you leave the task to your significant other, your lucky football jersey might go missing.
Here are some expert tips for getting your space in order.
Assess and reduce
Consider the 20-80 rule: People tend to wear about 20 percent of the clothes they own 80 percent of the time, says Barry Izsak, an Austin, Texas-based Certified Professional Organizer ( www.arrangingitall.com).
• His rule of thumb for guys: If you havent worn something in two years or keep saying youll take it to get repaired, its time to part with the item. Saving that stuff that you think will come back into style is never a good idea, he says. The problem is when paisley comes back in style, the width of the tie is going to be different.
• If you have some items youre iffy on and not sure whether you want to keep them, turn their hangers backwards and, as you wear the items, turn the hangers back around so they are consistent with the rest of your closet, says Izsak. Untouched items should go.
• Certified Professional Organizer Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet ( www.clutterdiet.com), suggests getting an objective second opinion when tackling a closet clean-out. One of the challenges with mens clothing is the styles tend to be more classic meaning guys hold on to the styles longer. When deciding if its time to get rid of a shirt or pair of pants, take a look at the wear and tear, as well as the fit, she suggests.
Rather than consider it a burden, its more fun to think of your closet reorganization project as a game of Tetris fitting the pieces just right to maximize space.
It doesnt have to cost a lot of money to re-do your closet, Izsak says.
• Check out stores such as Walmart, Target and Container Store for storage solutions and space savers.
• One thing we encourage is that if youre short on hanging space, consider folding things like T-shirts or polo shirts, Izsak says. Vice versa, if you dont have the drawer space, then start hanging the things you would fold.
• If your closet has just one long hanging rod, get a second bar so you can take advantage of a double hang and make the most use of your space.
• Because mens shoes are typically more bulky than womens shoes, Marrero suggests avoiding shoe-shelving units with cubby cubes because the cubes are too small for mens shoes.
When organizing your closet, one of Marreros favorite strategies is to look at the frequency of use of each item because you could be taking up some valuable space with items youre not using.
• A items are things that get daily use like socks and underwear and should be the most accessible.
• Items in the B category you wear often, like everyday shirts. They can go in drawers that are a little higher or lower.
• Seasonal items such as a Christmas sweater are C type items and should be up on a high shelf and out of the way.
• D type items are items youre not using, but that are sentimental like your high school letter jacket that should be stored away.
To the thrift shop
Marrero, also an ambassador for Goodwills Donate Movement ( donate.goodwill.org), says, in general, Goodwill takes gently used clothing for resale and its helpful if you can wash the items before you donate them.
If you have torn, ripped or stained clothes, or used socks, you can put those items in a separate bag labeled salvage so it will go into Goodwills salvage and recycling program.
Of course, Goodwill isnt the only game in town. A Google search for thrift store or consignment in your area will yield dozens of results.
You can track the value of your donations with a free Donate for Dollars tracking sheet from clutterdiet.com/freetips that you can use in tax season to calculate your charitable deductions.